Father of ex-NFL player Phillip Adams who killed 6 sues son’s alma mater over lack of head trauma treatment

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Alonzo Adams, the of father of former NFL defensive back Phillip Adams, is filing a lawsuit against the college where his son played football.

Adams fatally shot six people just over two year ago, before killing himself. An autopsy later revealed that Adams suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that some research has suggested is linked to head injuries and blows to the head.

CTE has also been shown to cause violent mood swings, and memory loss in some cases. Adams’ father is arguing that his son’s alma mater, South Carolina State University, failed to adhere to protocols. He also believes the university did not have enough highly trained staff members available to treat the sustained head trauma that Adams suffered throughout his college football career.

FILE - San Francisco 49ers cornerback Phillip Adams (35) is attended to after injuring his left leg during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 26, 2010, in St. Louis.

FILE – San Francisco 49ers cornerback Phillip Adams (35) is attended to after injuring his left leg during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 26, 2010, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam, File)

That alleged “negligence, carelessness, recklessness, willfulness, and wantonness” contributed to Adams’ death following the April 8, 2021, mass shooting in Rock Hill, South Carolina, according to the wrongful death lawsuit filed March 31. Police found Adams with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

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University spokesman Sam Watson said that school does not comment on current or pending litigation.

The NFL journeyman also sustained “head trauma” during his six years as a professional cornerback, according to the complaint. During a three-game span with the Raiders in 2012, Adams had two concussions.

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FILE- Atlanta Falcons defensive back Phillip Adams arrives for an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 25, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn.

FILE- Atlanta Falcons defensive back Phillip Adams arrives for an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 25, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)

The local coroner said the family told investigators that Adams complained of excruciating injury-related pain, had issues with his memory and struggled to sleep. 

His sister told USA Today after the killings that the family had noticed concerning signs of rapidly deteriorating mental health like an escalating temper and lack of personal hygiene.

In this handout image provided by the NFL, Phillip Adams of the San Francisco 49ers poses for his NFL headshot circa 2010 in San Francisco, California. 

In this handout image provided by the NFL, Phillip Adams of the San Francisco 49ers poses for his NFL headshot circa 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (NFL via Getty Images)

Because he didn’t retire by 2014, he would not have been eligible for testing included in a broad settlement between the league and former players over long-lasting concussion-related injuries.

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An agent previously told The Associated Press that Adams did not participate in other physical and mental health programs available for ex-players.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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